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The Only Story

Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question.First love has lifelong consequences, but Paul doesnt know anything about that at nineteen. At nineteen, hes proud of the fact his relationship flies in the face of social convention.As he grows older, the demands placed on Paul by love become far greater than he could possibly have foreseen.Tender and profound, The Only Story is an achingly beautiful novel by one of fictions greatest mappers of the human heart....

Title : The Only Story
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ISBN : 9781473554795
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 272 pages
Url Type : Home » Download » The Only Story
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The Only Story Reviews

  • Gumble's Yard

    Most of us have only one story to tell. I don’t mean that only one thing happens to us in our lives: there are countless events, which we turn into countless stories. But there’s only one that matters, only one finally worth telling. This is mine.

    Everyone has their love story. Everyone. It may have been a fiasco, it may have fizzled out, it may never even have got going, it may have been all in the mind, that doesn’t make it any less real. Sometimes, it makes it more real. Sometimes, you see a
    ...more

  • Mary

    I’d forgotten how contemplative and funny Julian Barnes is. The mood of this novel is nostalgic and retrospective – but not saccharine. That a book so touching and tragic could be so ironic and amusing, and helplessly sad, and then end on a cold, blunt note struck me as realistic and sort of wonderful. I really admired the final pages. I don’t think it should have ended any other way. Our lives are often disastrous and heart-breaking, our minds flit back and forth, and sometimes we are cold and ...more

  • Paul Fulcher

    We were together– under the same roof, that is– for ten or more years. Afterwards, I continued to see her regularly. In later years, less often. When she died, a few years ago, I acknowledged that the most vital part of my life had finally come to a close. I shall always think of her well, I promised myself. And this is how I would remember it all, if I could. But I can’t.

    Julian Barnes’ latest novel, The Only Story tells the story of the narrator, Paul’s, one true love, through his memories look
    ...more

  • Seemita

    "Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question."
    This sentence, which introduced this most recent book of Julian Barnes to his potential readers, was pretty much my Achilles heel from Page 1. I don’t quite understand how you can adjust the levels of love, like making marks on a burette and letting the content drip as per your desire of colour and consistency of the final emotion. Quantifying love is ...more

  • Michael

    From some late state in mature life, Paul finds he still believes that “love is the only story” and feels compelled to tell the story of how in his youth at 19 years he took up fulfilling that mission with gusto in his love for one Susan McLeod. That she was nearly 30 years older than him made for some interesting challenges to his ideals. Though we’ve seen age disparities in books and movies before, I’ll admit it was a challenge for me to suspend my disbelief with that many decades of differenc ...more

  • Adina

    .“Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more; or love the less, and suffer the less? That is, I think, finally, the only real question. You may point out –correctly –that it isn’t a real question. Because we don’t have the choice. If we had the choice, then there would be a question. But we don’t, so there isn’t. Who can control how much they love? If you can control it, then it isn’t love. I don’t know what you call it instead, but it isn’t love.”.

    Thus begins the latest novel by one of
    ...more

  • Trudie

    ( 2.5 probably but I feel guilted into a 3 )

    So.... it pains me a little to write this review because I really don't like to be so far outside of popular opinion on a book. It is perhaps a shame this is my first Julian Barnes novel as I know he is a much beloved author and his The Sense of an Ending is a popular Booker winner. There is no doubt you are in capable writerly hands when picking up this novel. My reactions to this are not indictments about the writing itself, which is mostly magnifice
    ...more

  • Netta

    It never ceases to amaze me how absolutely effortless Barnes’s writing is – as if the story was always there, begging to be told, as if there were two people who wanted to document their lives and mark their presence in the universe. That’s the reason the stories exist, isn’t? To mark our presence, our pain and our hopes.

    The Only Story is more than a story of "a long-haired student, 19" who fell in love with "a housewife, 48" and didn't make it into a proper rumpy-pumpy scandal, it is a mileston

    Which was the correct – or the more correct – formulation: ‘Life is beautiful but sad’, or ‘Life is sad but beautiful’?


    P.S. If I were to keep only one Barnes’s book, to be honest, it won’t be The Only Story, but as long as I’m not facing this choice, I’d say it is as brilliant as the rest of his novels. ...more